"We can discuss the first dimension at length, the second dimension is widely known, and the third dimension has been studied in depth, yet there exists a place beyond, a world sixty-five light years east of nowhere. There it is, just ahead, a dominion of whisper and din, a universe that twitches and howls in 3/4 time, a realm known as the SIXTH DIMENSION...where reality peaks at 3:14 in the afternoon with such clarity and sharpness, you'd think it would shatter; where traffic signals radiate black light; where dogs of war wage battle with apes of wrath. This is the SIXTH DIMENSION! There are forty-eight stories in the Sixth Dimension; here is one of them...


by Greg Petix

Over the township of Lurch, night falls like ink creeping down a wall. Dick Radichev smiles, knowing that death is now one day closer. "Bad world for the ugly," he whispers, gazing up at the premature moon.

Helen Wheels rides into Lurch on a Harley Davidson V-8 Motherfucker, a Screaming Vulva logo stencilled across the back of her leather jacket and a .45 caliber Participle dangling from her hip. A thirst for some hootch to drown the bugs in her teeth brings her to this one-horsepower town, home to the Slaphappy Saloon, a drinking establishment as old as the notion of private property. Helen weaves through the small haggles of people that crowd the main street, all dolled up in their finest livery, all sharing her destination. Among the throng, she recognizes Aristotle and Enkidu, two local rude boys who have broken more hymens than the exercise bike at the Y.W.C.A. She exchanges mean glances with them as she coasts by. In front of the saloon, Helen parks her bike between two banthas and dismounts. She heads for the entrance, her boots against the porch's wooden planks sounding deep and hollow, like a man popping his back. As she parts the swinging doors of the saloon, a gutteral voice from behind her hollers, "Hey fat ass, you wanna'..." Helen spins and ducks and cocks and fires her weapon, one fluid motion that fragments Enkidu's kneecap as easily as she fragments his sentence. The doors tap against her shoulder. On his hands and knee, Enkidu whimpers like a dog. Aristotle, with bits of cartilage in his long, white beard and blood stains on his long, white toga, intercedes on behalf of his fallen friend: "Please excuse the vulgar vocabulary of my coarse companion, for he is like unto a beast, allowing his base desires to navigate the course of his speech; but soft, there is no reason why we can not be friends, in the Platonic sense of course..." Aristotle spins words like a silkworm, so Helen lets his mouth run on for a bit, "...though you realize, my instructor Plato's relationships with his male friends was founded on sodomy, so why don't you just bend over and squeal like a..." Aristotle's head evaporates into a mist of blood and bone, yet his body continues to stand, and his hands grasp for a face that isn't there. Enkidu, wild eyes wide open and full of fear, lets out a sob and then collapses into oblivion. A second later, Aristotle joins him. Helen reholsters the Participle, spits at the ground, and turns to enter the saloon.

Dick Radichev sits in the shadow of the saloon, sits in the echoes of other people's laughter. His life is spent trapped between the the two gray walls of his alley, counting down the days until his longed-for death. His decrepit body sinks in like a condemned house, and his face is pale and cracked like a discarded mirror. At the age of fifteen, when innocence was becoming unbearable, Dick marched off to fight in the Clone Wars. After only three days on the front, an atomic bottle rocket tore off both of his legs, along with something else: he was akin to a eunich, achin' to fuck. The brass ring of life was forever denied to him. He would never waltz Matilda. To survive, he had to make himself cold. To survive, he had to amputate one more part of himself.

Inside the saloon, the joint is jumping. From the stage, Eddie Cochran with a mohawk and Johnny B. Goode on six hits of acid wail to a thrashing carousel of moshers, their two guitars arguing in distortion and dissonance. In the room's center, Ieyasu Tokugawa and Solomon Kane fence on top of the pool table, the furious slashes of their blades slicing the dense clouds of cigarette smoke that hover above them. Whistling a tune that was old when he was young, Korg the caveman paints big-hipped women on the wall with berries and blood. "What'll it be tonight, Ms. Wheels?" yells Lumpy Rutherford, the tender bartender at the Slaphappy, who at the age of thirty-seven, had still not rid himself of his baby fat. "As if you didn't know," replies Helen. "I was just giving you a chance to change your mind. You know how delicate your stomach is." "Yeah, right Lumpy." While he prepares her pitcher of gin and tonics, Helen views the wild life. To her right, St. Joan the She-Pope rubs up against Shade the Changing Man, whispering sweet somethings in his ear and making his M-vest distort his features into absurdity. To her left, Mr. Ed and Boxer sullenly nurse bitters while glaring at the revelous humans with hate and murder in their equine eyes. Behind the livid horses, at a table near the thundering stage, Artemis the Huntress and Popeye the Sailor arm-wrestle for beers, bulging veins like garter snakes slithering beneath the skin of their arms. On the dance floor, Job slams with some hyperactive Oompa-Loompas, while up against the wall opposite to Helen, Rod Serling goes down on a breathless O. Henry. Lumpy serves Helen her drink, LOVE and LIKE tatooed across the knuckles of his hands. "Put it on my tab, honey-pie," she says in a voice that's hollered over roaring engines too many times. She snakes her way through the crowd and finds a seat near the fencing match. Tokugawa is bleeding from a score of scratches on his chest and arms. Kane is grinning like a wolf beneath his Puritan's hat. All around Helen, rabid spectators yell out bets and shake fists full of money. Ignoring them, Helen guzzles her pitcher and bathes in the serene alcohol warmth that washes over her body. Brother Power the Geek, sentient puppet, approaches her table. "Hey baby, you grok the Mashed Potato?" "Hell yeah, long hair!" "Groovy!" They leap to the dance floor and flip like pancakes, all the while avoiding projectile Oompa-Loompas. A cheer erupts from around the pool table. Tokugawa's unconscious body falls on to the dance floor, just missing Helen and the Geek, who pony on regardless. Pericles, with eighty newly-won drachmas in his cupped hands, strides over to the jukebox and pumps in three coins. His "Speech to the Athenians" blares out from the speakers, overpowering the music raging from the stage. He stands there with his eyes closed, basking in neon light and former glory, heedless of the angry stares coming from the dance floor. Helen, in thrall to the rhythm, doesn't see Job swagger up to the jukebox and yell at Pericles. Pericles answers him with a left hook to the jaw. Job stands his ground. He's felt worse. Pericles jerks back his arm so he can clock Job a second time. Unfortunately, his elbow smacks Korg in the back of the head. The neanderthal, who was ignoring the fracas up to now, pulls the stone axe out of his loincloth and hacks away at Pericles. Job, laughing maniacally, assists Korg by kicking the howling Greek statesman in the shins. At St. Joan's urging, Shade attacks Korg with fists as big as baby elephants. They duke it out as distant Athenians applaud and cheer. Job continues to kick the butchered corpse of Pericles until the butt of Korg's axe accidentally smashes his face. He stumbles blindly across the room and collapses on top of Rod Serling, causing him to bite down hard on the erect penis in his mouth. O. Henry screams in falsetto as his blood and semen flood Serling's mouth. Mr. Ed and Boxer seize the day and and start kicking in heads with their hind hooves. The Oompa-Loompas, wired on chocolate and whiskey, indiscriminately assault anyone within their limited reach. Johnny B. Goode studies the intricate wonders of his left shoe. Lumpy Rutherford hides behind the bar. Helen shouts to Brother Power over the din, "You should leave, Brother. You might get the stuffing beat out of you," but he just spreads out his arms and begins a pathetic chorus of "Give Peace a Chance." Helen blows air past her lips in consternation. She turns and carefully finds her way to the bar, avoiding misplaced punches and hurling bodies. From the relative safety of her barstool, she watches the pandamonium. Up on the stage, Eddie Cochran caves in Boxer's skull with his Les Paul while Artemis picks off Oompa-Loompas with her longbow. After shooting up some strained spinach, Popeye dry humps St. Joan. Korg hacks away at the jukebox, trying to make it shut up. Most nights, Helen would be into this mindless violence shit full-tilt, but not this night. She was going to take a page out of Brother Power's book. She heads for the door. The last thing she sees before she exits is Mr. Ed's jaws clamped around Rod Serling's neck.

Dick Radichev watches the giant women standing in front of the saloon, the moonlight changing her upturned face into pure luminous beauty. He forgets to breathe while he stares at the sinuous curve of her long neck. And then he feels it. Something he thought he'd never feel again: a mounting pressure in his loins, a hunger in his head, a phantom hard-on. He can almost feel the rough wool fabric of his pants scrape against it. He looks down and sees the constant mocking valley between his stumps, but he can still feel it.

Helen is about to mount her bike when she notices Dick, staring at her with fierce desire in her eyes. "What the hell are you staring at, old man?" She walks over to him, angrily until she sees the great sorrow etched on his face. He begins his litany of loneliness: he tells her about killing off emotions in self-defense; He tells her of endless longing; he tells her how people call him Dickless right to his face. There's tears in his eyes. Helen kneels down in front of him and squeezes his hand. He looks at her with the eyes of a frightened little boy. She parts her lips and brings them to his. Her mouth is hot and wet. He can barely breathe. She wraps her legs around his left stump, the end of it pressed against her. She carresses his thin, bony chest as her hips rock back and forth, imperceptibly slow, then faster. A feeling like crescendo builds inside of him, growing, growing... At the moment of release, their eyes lock, Dick's libido and imagination working overtime, Helen's mouth open in ecstasy. In Dick's brain, a euphoric snap, and he gasps for air. She fills his mouth with her tongue. After a long while, she slowly pulls away. Without saying a word, she stands up, walks over to her motorcycle, and gets on. She waves goodbye to him, he waves back, and she rides off. He watches her until she's lost in darkness. He listens to her engines roar till he can't hear them anymore. He smiles. The smell of the night air is so sweet it makes his eyes water, and the moon shines as bright as the sun.